Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has commended the National Assembly for its passage of the bill to reduce the age limits for elective positions.
The governor, however, called for the total removal of age barrier from the eligibility conditions to contest elections in the country.
He made the call in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti on Friday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
Fayose said, “If a Nigerian who is 18 years can vote, such a person should also be qualified to be voted for and whether or not such a person can be elected should be left in the hands of the electorate.
“Most importantly, age is not a barrier to intellectual capability and that has been (seen) in most countries led by young people. Here in Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon was Head of State at 32.
“There is no nation that can develop without giving its youths (the) opportunity to serve. There is nothing wrong in a 30-year-old contesting for (the position of the) President not to even talk of (a) 35-year-old because the future of Nigeria belongs to the youth.”
The governor, who assured that the Ekiti State House of Assembly would endorse the bill when presented to it, called on other state Houses of Assembly to endorse the bill.
He declared that he was already putting into practice the provisions of the bill in Ekiti State, explaining that it was in recognition of the importance of youth’s involvement in governance that he restricted the age anyone could contest for (the position of a) councillor to between 18 and 40 years and those above 50 years for the chairmanship election.
“I salute the National Assembly for passing this very important bill that will enable young Nigerians to contest for (the office of the) President at 35, governor at 30 and House of Representatives or State Assemblies at 25. But the National Assembly should have removed the age barrier completely,” the governor said.
Fayose, who reiterated his decision to enforce the age limit for local government positions, said the bill passed by the National Assembly had reinforced his position on the age limit for local council positions in Ekiti State.
“It is my position that our youths must be allowed to participate in governance since they are the ones who provide the largest votes during elections.
“Most importantly, the future belongs to the youth and I believe that they should be given prominent roles in structuring that future which belongs to them.”